Sunday, June 21, 2009

Birth Plan

Hi everyone, we've been working on a birth plan.. We're very much aware that things may not go to plan, but it really helps us (well, me!) to have a sense of an ideal so that I can approach the experience more positively and without too much anxiety. For various reasons we're hoping for a birth that has minimal interventions. Deb is such a wonderful practitioner and I absolutely trust her to advise us well... so I'm not worried about being forced into anything - but having some preferences is, I think, going to be helpful. Of course it could all go out the window when I curse and scream for the epidural... when I'm in the early stages of labor :)

Would love your suggestions for additions, etc. I've written up a c-section plan, too, just in case....

The Oliver-Campbell Family Birth Preferences

Thank you for helping us with the process of bringing our little one into the world! As first time parents we’re full of excitement and anticipation. We of course have a birthing ‘ideal’, but we are very much aware that the best-laid plans are just that, plans. That said, we’re hoping for a straightforward birthing experience and have jotted down some of our preferences…
We’ve been preparing for the birth using Hypnobabies. Some of it is a little hokey(!), but we’ve been finding it really helpful. We’re hoping that you will be willing to use some of the language, techniques, suggestions, scripts, etc. We’ve attached a few examples to this plan...
In the event of an emergency – or some complication – we will of course yield to any request for life saving interventions, or a course of intervention which might avoid, for example, a cesarean section. We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Deb Rothenberg attend the birth, and trust her judgment implicitly. And we are very grateful that we have the opportunity to birth here, and we thank you for your support in advance.

Hydration and Nutrition: We prefer that Alex be allowed to eat freely and to hydrate with water and juice. We’d also prefer to have a Heparin Lock, in case an IV is needed.

Monitoring: It’s our preference for the baby to be monitored intermittently rather than constantly.

Room Environment: Since we’re using a self-hypnosis technique we’d prefer to have a very quiet and low key environment. We would like the choice to play some soft music, to dim the lights (Alex is also a little self-conscious and is very modest!), and for folks in the room to use low voices. We also would very much appreciate if people in the room could refer to ‘contractions’ as birthing waves and to ‘labor’ as birthing, as this will help the hypnobabies techniques.

Comfort Measures: it is our strong desire to have an un-medicated birthing experience. In addition to hypnobabies, Alex would very much appreciate help and encouragement with other natural strategies: using the rub, chair, shower, birthing ball, different positions, and so forth.
Please do not offer Alex any pain medications. Should the need arise, however, and the baby is at risk, then of course we will yield to any need. To communicate how she is feeling, Alex may ask for medications from time to time. Please encourage her to use alternative measures. Should Alex decide to request medications sincerely, she will have a way of communicating that with Richard, and he will confirm the request.

Episiotomy: It is our strong preference to avoid this procedure. We’d appreciate your help to avoid this and possible tearing using hot compresses, oil, different positions, etc.

After the baby is born:

We would prefer to allow the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before clamping it. Richard may or may not wish to cut the umbilical cord…!

If there are no seeming problems, we wish to delay routine procedures to allow for skin-to-skin time.

It is our strong desire to exclusively breastfeed and we’d appreciate your help, instruction and encouragement.

We will not be circumcising our son.



If a C-Section is not an emergency, please give us time to think about it before asking for our written consent.

We would prefer that Richard be present at all times during the c-section.

Ideally, I would like to remain conscious during the procedure.

I would like the baby to be shown to me immediately after he’s born, and I would like to have contact with the baby as soon as it is possible in the delivery room.

If my baby is healthy, I would like to hold my baby and nurse him immediately in recovery… and I’d very much appreciate help with this.

Thank you!


  1. This sounds extremely realistic. Well done Alex and Rich! :)

  2. Wow you are so brave to go au naturel! Sounds like a great plan. One things that I wish I would have been more clear about when I had Jaxon was for the nursery to not give him a pacifier. I had a really hard time getting him to nurse in the beginning because he was tongue tied and the lactation specialist told me not to give him a pacifier until he learned to latch on well.

  3. Two quick thoughts - you could cut the cord! I did Rafe's as C's too squeamish. Also, in my plan I asked that if they knocked me out for an emergency C section that only medical staff and Christian be allowed to hold or see baby until I was able to. I know of one woman who came round only to find that her entire family had held the baby before her :-(

    Good luck! x

  4. This is great, Alex. I, too, commend you both!

    I think you've hit the right balance between firm and assertive on the one hand, and aware of the possible need for modifications on the other. It's wonderful that you're so explicit about those little things that matter a lot (like skin-to-skin time and support for nursing). It's also so important that you have that trust in Deb to be your advocate. That is HUGE.

    One other thing: I know it is impossible to imagine this right now, but if you're like me you'll shed all shreds of modesty and you won't notice or care! And you'll be yelling like a banshee and won't care if you wake up every last sleeping person in the whole hospital. ;-)

    Of course, I also love your hypnobabies techniques and I hope the birth is quiet and peaceful and perfect. It's great to have that goal foremost in your mind because it will make the whole thing go more smoothly for all of you, regardless of what happens. ;-)


  5. Couple more thoughts... What about delivery of the placenta - do you want the injection to hurry things along or do you want to wait for it to come away naturally?

    Also, do they give vitamin K to babies at birth over there? Here you can have it by injection or orally. Orally is the crunchy way ;-) but takes longer (several doses needed), they might throw it up etc etc... At least with the jab you know the job's done..

    I would also recommend doing a short bullet-point precis of your plan for quick reference during the birth.

    I agree with Jen - you'll check your modesty in at the door of the delivery suite! x

  6. Wow, you are so organised and have thought about everything.

    I whole-heartedly agree with the modesty comments! The whole modesty thing returns straight after though!

    I also had to state whether I wanted the injection to speed delivery of the placenta and how I wanted the Vitamin K to be administered.

    Best wishes to you. xxxxx

  7. wow, i echo the others who have said it sounds balanced and realistic. It's great that you'll be able to have such a say in such a personal and monumental event.

    It makes me all the more excited.

    I really hope you are able to have the birthing experience that you hope for and think you have a great plan for possible less ideal situations.

    I love you.

  8. Thanks so much, everyone! Really helpful stuff (here and on FB). I have to tell you women, I am EXTREMELY shy and modest around my body!!! But who knows...! I will let you know how that part goes :)

    Alice, thanks for the reminder about vit K, etc. I know we have to consider eye drops, some vax, etc. Deb is also the little guy's pediatrician and so we've been talking about what happens and what choices to be made.. Yikes, so much to navigate! What did you do with Rafe and Gabriel?

    Yikes, I hadn't thought about who'd hold the little one if I was under for a c-section. At the time of delivery it should be just Rich and I there, and I have asked Rich not to do anything (like bathe the LO, etc) until I'm able to be there. i should probably write something up, too. I think that Rich might be like his queasy brother.. so will absolutely try to cut the cord myself!

    Oh yes, the placenta delivery is a good question. I really want to avoid pitocin, but think that I might see how it goes. Anyone with experiences they'd like to share on this third stage?

    I did share the plan with Deb today, and she liked it a lot. Hopefully things will work out, and, if not, then that;s okay too... I am a bit frightened of a C-section, but know that I'd survive if it came to it...

  9. reading this brought tears to my eyes, though i am not quite sure why. i think i just love imagining you as such a thoughtful, caring, and concerned mother, and how lucky the little dude is to come into the world with so much care and love.

    yup, i think that is it :)

    god, i cant wait to get the call that he has been born (THERE BETTER BE A CALL!), you guys are just going to be such amazing parents.

    love you both so much,

  10. what a beautiful plan... i'm so glad that you have a team of people who will support you and your choices. i think that is where i went "wrong" first time around... i wasn't surrounded by the people I ought to have been... that said it was still an amazing experience - warm and intimate and peaceful.

    kate xx

  11. R & G have had every jab offered. I'm way more scared of the real diseases than the innoculations and there are getting to be more and more cases of measles etc round here - my friend's little boy (too young for the MMR) was recently in hospital with it.

    I had a natural 3rd stage with both boys and whilst the cord took aaaages to stop pulsating, the placenta came on its own pretty swiftly after the cord was finally cut so no need for the injection.

    I have every confidence that your birth will go ahead as planned, I think the hypnobirthing will really help a LOT!

    I didn't do it officially but I had a couple of mantras that got me through along the lines of "one way or another this will be over by the end of today" and "trust your body/trust the midwives". This is crucial when they're telling you to push into the pain and the rational part of your brain is thinking "WTF??! Are you crazy?!" lol!!

    I can't wait to hear all about it!

    A xx

  12. Hi! I found your blog from MDC. Your birth plan sounds great! However, I have never heard of waiting for the cord to stop pulsating before clamping...what is the purpose of this?